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Colorado Ballet's season closer & retirements

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I attended the final performance of the season today (sold-out!) at the Gates Concert Hall at University of Denver. It was both a great crowd pleaser and a wonderful opportunity for the company to show off their considerable range.

Clark Tippet's Bruch Violin Concerto No. 1 has great staying power, and it's a well-chosen ensemble piece for this company, both corps and principals. Premiered in 1987 by ABT, one of the dancers posted an Instagram showing the label in his costume for Mr. Corella. I've seen clips of this on YouTube, but don't recall seeing it in the theater. The partnering is innovative, often risky - always a treat to see. Tippet seemed to have a knack for moving groups around in interesting ways. I see this ballet programmed around the country from time to time and it makes you wonder what more Tippet could have contributed to the ballet world if he had lived longer.

They also did Michael Smuin's Peter and the Wolf, which ABT premiered in 1982. The ABT costumes were used and it must have been fun for director Gil Boggs to do a work in which he was Peter in the world premiere over 30 years ago. We brought my sister's grandchildren (5 & 8) and they were spell-bound. But I also enjoyed the virtuoso show-off opportunities for so many of the dancers.

Sadly, the retirements of three male dancers were announced: principals Viacheslav Buchkovsky and Dmitry Trubchanov and soloist Jesse Marks. I will greatly miss all of them.

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I, too, was sad to learn of the retirement of these 3 dancers. I had the pleasure of seeing Dracula in the fall and I think it was Dmitry's last performance. His performance was inspired! I believe that Jesse Marks was Harker in that same performance and his tortured characterization of a man descending into a tortured madness was spot-on! Neither one, in that performance, danced like they were in the twilight of their careers. I suppose though that I would want to go out on top.

I think this weekend's line-up was special for Gil Boggs and many of the dancers on many different levels. Principal, Dana Benton, said that Peter and the Wolf was the first ballet that she saw and it was what inspired her to begin taking dance lessons. For Jesse, it was his last performance and for the young man in Bruch, it marked the beginning of things to come.

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Dmitry was rehearsing Fancy Free at some open Friends rehearsals I attended earlier this year and he seemed to land badly in one jump at the theater. The rehearsal mistress asked if he could go on. I learned afterward he had to cancel due to injury, so that turned out to be my last opportunity to see him. Such a loss!! He was trained at Vaganova and was fully invested in every role. Special treats were Demetrius in A Midsummer Night's Dream last fall and Hilarion a year ago. (His Hilarion is now my "gold standard" for that role.) He was a great role model for the younger dancers. Every role matters.

Slava has been out with injury, and I was glad he could come on stage for a standing ovation and cheers yesterday. His Albrecht (partnering Sharon Wehner) a year ago was truly superb. He also did Oberon in Midsummer Night's Dream last fall.

Jesse raced through the repertory and could always be counted on to invest every role with dramatic detail and often great comedic effect.

Yes, they will all be missed.

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